Vulnerability-To find ourselves worthy of consideration

Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about vulnerability.

So one way to think about feeling vulnerable is to think about feeling wounded. This is why feeling vulnerable can be so unpleasant  There can be wounds here that may be enormous (so big I cannot see around them) or tiny, (so small I don’t even know they are there).

In order to avoid the painful feelings that wounds produce I can divert myself with eating, drinking, shopping, talking, sleeping, and/or _ (fill in the blank).

It is conceivable that I could spend my whole life living through a series of distractions.

And this is completely understandable. After all, who wants to hang out with painful feelings?

But there are consequences to living through distractions.

So here is where it gets interesting. Instead of using the word ‘wound’ – let’s use the word ‘opening’.  After all, a wound is an opening.

So now I have a choice.   I can get swept up in my compulsion to distract myself from the pain this wound is producing or I can remain at this opening in order to see where it takes me.

So this has been my practice over the last week.  Instead of reaching for the zapper (noise and distraction), a beer (fuzziness and distraction) or food (pleasure and distraction) I am practicing what it feels like to be present at the opening – at the moment and at the place when and where these uncomfortable feelings present themselves.

And this is what happened.  I began to reframe what I felt not as a feeling but as a sensation.  Sometimes there is more than one sensation happening at the same time. And these sensations have actually become interesting to me.  I have gotten curious.   

Some of these sensations I have discovered are fizzy. Some sensations are vast and spacious.  In the past, I was always quick to try to smooth out the fizziness.  I wanted the fizziness to calm down – to be smooth.  And I wanted to avoid these vast and spacious sensations because they made me feel anxious, even fearful.

The image above (courtesy of Jann Williams) is how I envision a world full of openings; what lies above opens onto what lies  below and what lies below opens onto what lies above.  

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